Saturday, September 14, 2013

Genesis 1:1 In a beginning (II)

Gen 1:1 In a beginning (Part I)

I found another who adheres to the translation:

'In a beginning'

for the first word of Genesis 1 and Bible. It comes from the book titled Intercourses in the Book of Genesis by R. Gilboa. This book is a simplified version of his P.H.D. thesis presented to the University of Manchester and published in 1998. He seemed to be doing a doctorate in Biblical Hebrew. Here is an abstract from the book:

The very first word in Genesis indicates a certain mode of time. It is usually translated "In the beginning", but the particle 'the' is not part of the Hebrew text; the person who vocalized the word saw fit to give it an indefinite sense of time and not the sense of the all-embracing transcendental occurence: Be'Reshit, not Ba'Reshit,. Assuming that the voweller was conscious of what he was doing, and this is the approach stressed again and again in this paper, one cannot apply a cosmic interpretation to a text which avoids the cosmic. Therefore when the text states "בְּ·רֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים", it means to say only what is written: "in a beginning God created . . ." The problems of whether there were other beginnings or when was THE beginning (a question scientifically yet unsolved) are irrelevant for the story, and the practical text, by the very words used, seems to avoid unsolvable problems by relating only to an undefined time and a beginning that concern it. (Chapter II, p. 39)

I more or less agree with him. Grammatically, I came to the same conclusion but supposedly this is an unsound argument via Mike. Fair enough. Biblical Hebrew studies is confusing because it is history, and I am no expert. But even if his grammatical argument is supposedly unsound Gilboa's reasoning when taken in context to the referents (that which the word refers to) of 'the Heaven and the Earth' are sound. The object Heaven and the object Earth (object: that which has shape) were not created simultaneously ex nihilo at THE absolute beginning of created objects. God's Sphere was created first and then the astronomical object Earth was created perhaps billions of years later. That is my belief. Thus the sacred author relates the creation of these two objects in an indefinite beginning. He was a seer. He did not know when these two objects were created in relation to each other. All he knew is that God created the Heaven and the Earth prior to the events that he relates in the narrative. He relates them to God and states them since they are the relevant objects of his narrative. God acts to transfigure the face of the Earth from His home, Heaven, via the Spirit who is emitted to the astronomical object Earth. The Heaven of God is a relevant object in the dynamic of the events described in the Genesis 1 narrative. God acts to change the face of the Earth: from Heaven.

Later in the same chapter Gilboa states:

The author, as discussed beforehand concerning A beginning, avoid the problem of THE beginning and states the existence of A God-creator. The powers of this God are directed toward a very specific creation. . . (p. 44)

The specific created object is the Heaven of God and the astronomical object Earth. I think the Earth is a star that naturally transitioned from an active fusion and compression phase to an inactive dark phase (a planet) for billions of years prior to the main event of Genesis. This beginning stated in Genesis 1:1 is indefinite, obscure, uncertain, unclear, etc. The seer who communicated Genesis 1 had little idea of all the things God did prior to "and the Earth was an astonishing-desert . . . "Let light happen!"

I am going to God with the translation:

In a beginning, God had created the form of Heaven and the form of Earth
And when Earth was an astonishing-desert, etc.    

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